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Poster: Jim F Date: Aug 24, 2010 2:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH - A sweet New Potato

I just wrote a somewhat extensive review to someone pointing out the highlights of the August 68 run from 8/21-8/24 (as well as the BCT run of 72). I love 8/22, it's such an odd show. I don't think that the Alligator>Caution is all that "strong" in the typical sense, it's so laid back compared to what they did in LA the following day. Here is basically my rambling about the highlights of the August 68 run, if anyone cares...

8/21/68-the standalone Alligator that closes the first set, brimming with energy and includes nice early thematic references to both the "Mountain Jam" and "bid you goodnight" jams often found in most Alligators, as well as other jams over the next 2 years (before being included at the end of pretty much every GDTRFB from 71-74, in the case of the "bid" jam). The rest of the show is very good, including a very nice cryptical>other one>cryptical, but fairly average respective to the rest of the run.

8/22/68-The sister show to 8/24, which was immortalized in brilliant 8 track glory on Two From the Vault. 8/22 is truly the oddball show of the run. Same setlist as the others, most similar to 8/24 in most regards, but completely different in execution. This one has a really nice New Potato with Phil doing a very punchy solo, my 2nd favorite The Eleven of the run, and one of the most interesting Alligator>Caution's of all time. VERY different from the monster played the following day in LA. Also notable in that at the end of the drums out of Alligator somebody shouts "eleven!" and they proceed to do an interesting Alligator jam in 11/4 time (not the song The Eleven, just a typical Alligator jam for the era in 11/4 time). This is a much more laid back Alligator>Caution, none of the intense peaks and buildups, not so much of a frenetic pace as usual and no fanning from Jerry at all in the Caution. This one is played with much softer dynamics, much more subtle jamming, one of those rare 68 jams that you can actually drift off to sleep to.

8/23/68-ALLIGATOR>CAUTION!!!! This fantastic version is the filler on the "So Many Roads" box set version of the Anthem album. Easily one of the top of the year.

8/24/68-If you don't have Two From the Vault, you suck at life. Easily a top 3 (or 4, or 5) performance from 68. You got 2/14/68, 8/24/68, and 10/12(and 13)/68, and what else? Ok maybe 6/14 or 3/16...but it's hard to beat 8/24. It's got one of the greatest Eleven's of all time, a wonderful Other One suite with one of the most emotive codas at the end before the drop into New Potato Caboose, which is arguably THE definitive version of the tune. Even Schoolgirl and Lovelight, so overplayed and standard at the time, shine (especially the 15 minute show opening Schoolgirl). The short 11 minute Dark Star, though still in it's infancy as a song, is great. It's shows like this that really make you understand that THIS is what the Grateful Dead were all about. As much as I love other eras, when you really sit down and listen to a top notch 68 or 69 show, you really start to think that everything after was all just fluff.

Disclaimer: I don't really think it was all fluff after 69, I was just trying to make a point about the awesomeness of 1968. I don't like the 80's much myself and will probably never defend any 80's show against a 68, but I don't want to throw any more fuel on the fire on one of those 80's/90's bashing "nothing beats 68" arguments. I guess I just did, though lol.

The reason I wrote that whole list of recommendations in the first place (I also did a list for the 72 run) is because I'm on a forum for this local band, and a while back this guy started a "This Day in History" thread. Every day on such monumental dates like 2/14 and whatnot he almost always posts stream links to all these really bad mid-80's shows. So I usually follow his posts directing people to the REAL goods haha. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not an 80's/90's basher, I don't think any music objectively or definitively sucks, I think it's just a matter of different tastes. I might joke around but I don't seriously begrudge people who like that era (though I will say I don't quite understand them, it's one thing to like both the early stuff AND the 80's or 90's, but those people that hate the early stuff boggle my mind sometimes). With people I know it's just fun to jokingly give them a little crap about their favorite version of "We Can Run" or "Take You Home" or something.